#67 Kansas State Wildcats: College Basketball 111 in 111


kansas state dance team

Welcome to The Sports Bank’s fourth annual college basketball season preview series where we break 111 teams in the 111 days leading up to the opening tip-off of the 2013-2014 season.  We will rank the 84 power conference teams (including the new Big East and American Athletic Conferences) and top 27 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order.  We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.

In his first season as Kansas State Wildcats head coach, Bruce Weber shocked the heck out out me by helping K-State earn a share of the Big 12 Conference Championship.  It will be an uphill climb for Weber and the Wildcats this season though as the team loses several key contributors from a year ago.

Last Season: T-1st, 14-4 in Big 12, 27-8 overall
Predicted Big 12 Finish: 5th

Projected Depth Chart
F/C: Thomas Gipson (Jr)/D.J. Johnson (So)
F: Nino Williams (Jr)/Jack Karapetyan (Fr)
G/F: Shane Southwell (Sr)/Wesley Iwundu (Fr)
G: Omari Lawrence (Sr)/Marcus Foster (Fr)
PG: Will Spradling (Sr)/Jevon Thomas (Fr)/Nigel Johnson (Fr)

Gone: C-Jordan Henriquez, SG-Rodney McGruder, SG-Martavious Irving, PG-Angel Rodriguez (transfer-Miami FL), PG-Michael Orris (transfer-Northern Illinois), C-Adrian Diaz (transfer-Florida International)

2013-2014 Outlook:
Angel Rodriguez’s decision to transfer means the Kansas State Wildcats lose their top two scorers from last season.  As a result, Will Spradling will likely return to being the primary ball handler after spending a majority of last year playing off the ball.  Spradling and Shane Southwell figure to shoulder the scoring load this season.  Southwell is the team’s top returning scorer and can light it up from deep having connected on nearly 44% of his three-point attempts as a junior.

Due to his experience, former St. John’s transfer Omari Lawrence is the favorite to start alongside Spradling and Southwell on the wing.  Lawrence didn’t see a ton of playing time last year and wasn’t overly-productive when he was on the floor, so expect the freshman quartet of Wesley Iwundu, Marcus Foster, Jevon Thomas, and Nigel Johnson to be given the opportunity to play heavy minutes from the opening tip.

Weber used a smaller starting five last year with Southwell pretty much playing the “power forward” role and that should likely be the case again this season, except you can plug 6-5 Nino Williams into that spot.  Williams started 11 games as a sophomore and relies on his physicality to offset his lack of ideal height.  Without a ton of depth inside through, don’t be surprised to see K-State once again use more of a four-guard look like they did last season.

Anchoring the middle will be another undersized, but physical big man, Thomas Gipson.  At 6-7, 265, Gipson eats up a ton of space inside but lacks the shot blocking ability that Jordan Henriquez brought to the floor.  Backup D.J. JOhnson is the only Wildcat on the roster standing taller than 6’7 and should see an increased role this year.  Weber needs him to step up as a rim protector or else Kansas State will be very vulnerable inside.

While Weber lost a few players to transfer, he also picked up a pair of newcomers in guard Justin Edwards of Maine and former Georgetown forward Brandon Bolden.  Both guys must sit out this season per NCAA transfer rules but will provide needed depth in 2014-15.

With only six players returning from last year and newcomers entering the fold, this will be a year of transition for Weber.  A lack of experience and depth inside are concerns for K-State but luckily the bottom half of the Big 12 is pretty weak so a top five finish in the conference is still possible.

Player to Watch: Shane Southwell
Because Southwell is 6-7, his height allows him to play a couple of different positions which is a huge plus for a team that doesn’t have a whole lot of size inside.  He will see minutes at the three and four this season and regardless of where Southwell is playing, increasing his scoring is vital to any success the team might see this season.

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/17 vs. Long Beach State
11/21 vs. Charlotte (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/22 vs. Georgetown/Northeastern (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
11/24 vs. Michigan/Long Beach State/VCU/Florida State (Puerto Rico Tip-Off)
12/5 vs. Ole Miss (SEC/Big 12 Challenge)
12/21 vs. Gonzaga (in Wichita)
12/28 vs. Tulane (in Brooklyn)
12/31 vs. George Washington

OTHER 111 IN 111’S:
#68 Davidson
#69 Dayton
#70 Miami FL
#71 SMU
#72 Texas A&M
#73 Long Beach State
#74 UMass
#75 Northwestern
#76 Indiana State
#77 Georgia Tech
#78 Oklahoma
#79 Richmond
#80 Manhattan
#81 Belmont
#82 Texas
#83 Houston
#84 Washington State
#85 Iona
#86 Oregon State
#87 Louisiana Tech
#88 Towson
#89 Wake Forest
#90 Central Florida
#91 Rutgers
#92 Drexel
#93 USC
#94 Charleston
#95 Seton Hall
#96 Vanderbilt
#97 George Mason
#98 Clemson
#99 Penn State
#100 Nebraska
#101 West Virginia
#102 South Florida
#103 Mississippi State
#104 DePaul
#105 South Carolina
#106 Texas Tech
#107 TCU
#108 Virginia Tech
#109 Georgia
#110 Utah
#111 Auburn

David Kay is a senior feature NBA DraftNBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank.  He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities.  David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu to Milwaukee.  He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet , AND the second most accurate 2013 NBA Mock Draft. (Yup, nearly 3peat champ… #humblebrag.)

You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.

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